The co-coordinators of the negotiations, Ambassador Sofía Boza of Chile and Ambassador Jung Sung Park of the Republic of Korea, reported on their consultations with groups of members in various configurations. In those consultations, participants reiterated their support for the April “sunset approach” — the need to set a deadline to discard issues in the Annex which do not have wide support and therefore are not seen by participating members as “fit” to be part of the future IFD Agreement.

Ambassadors Boza and Park reported on the four remaining issues pending in the Annex. Regarding a proposal to exclude “measures adopted or maintained by a Member affecting electronic commerce”, two delegations who had requested more time for their capital to analyse the proposal stated that they did not support the proposed carve-out, which will thus be dropped at the next round of negotiations in early April.

On the proposal to define the term “enterprise”, several participants questioned whether this definition was needed, as it appeared only in a few instances. In the spirit of compromise, the proponent of a definition expressed willingness to withdraw its submission.

Regarding the movement of business persons, many intervening delegations expressed support or said they were positively considering a joint proposal on “information to be made publicly available on the entry and temporary stay of natural persons”. However, a participating member who submitted a text proposal last December with the aim of finding a landing zone on this topic asked for additional time, with a view to taking a decision at the April meeting.

Finally, delegations committed to work between sessions to bridge their differences and resolve the fourth remaining open issue — a proposal to exclude “non-discriminatory measures of general application in the pursuit of monetary and related credit policies or exchange rate policies”.

Delegations also continued the review of Section II (Transparency of investment measures) and Section IV (Focal points, domestic regulatory coherence and cross-border cooperation), where they were able to make progress on the remaining brackets (text still under negotiation). Additionally, they started the review of Section I (Scope and general principles) and Section III (Streamlining and speeding up administrative procedures).

At the end of the consultations, the Secretariat reported on the preparation of the IFD Self-Assessment Guide. Developed in collaboration with seven international organizations with expertise in investment facilitation (ITC, OECD, UNCTAD, UNECA, WBG, IDB and WEF), the aim of the Guide is to help developing and least-developed countries (LDCs) self-assess their needs in terms of implementing the future agreement.

The Secretariat reported that nearly all the provisions to be covered by the Guide were close to being finalized. The consolidated Guide would be sent to the seven partner organizations for their review and comments before a final review is undertaken. The objective is to circulate the draft Self-Assessment Guide to IFD participants around mid-March for introduction and discussion at the next negotiating round on 3-5 April 2023.

The next negotiating round will notably revert to the remaining issues in the Annex, with a view to resolving them. Delegations will also discuss remaining brackets in the various sections of the Draft IFD Agreement and will address the Investment Facilitation Self-Assessment Guide.

Ambassador Boza stressed that the early April meeting will be “a particularly important one” and encouraged delegations to participate in-person in the next negotiating round in Geneva. “It is always easier to make progress when we can discuss face-to-face and not through a screen,” she said.




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